The Portage Trail Conference alumni group in the University of Akron football locker room is going to need to find a bigger meeting place pretty soon.
SPRINGFIELD TWP. The Portage Trail Conference alumni group in the University of Akron football locker room is going to need to find a bigger meeting place pretty soon.
The parade of PTC athletes donning Akron blue and gold expanded by one more this week when Springfield senior Tracy Jordan verbally committed to play for the Zips. Jordan, a two-way lineman for the Spartans, will join Coventry senior Dusty Burkhart, former Coventry standout Devon Jones, former Ravenna running back D.J. Jones and former Streetsboro offensive lineman Nick Fazio as PTC alumni on the UA roster for head coach Terry Bowden.
Making his college choice was a stressful process for Jordan, but he went into it with a clear vision of what he wanted to accomplish.
“It was a little nerve wracking, but I’ve always wanted to play for Akron and I never pictured myself outside the state of Ohio,” Jordan said. “I was very excited when I called them and told them my decision.”
Jordan kept his options open as he went through the recruiting process and hoped that he would get an offer from a top Big Ten school, but ultimately, it was Akron that stepped up with an offer and gave him the chance to make his Division I dreams come true.
Throughout the recruiting process, Jordan relied heavily on his mother, Andrea, and head coach Kevin Vaughn, looking to them with any questions he had when it came to evaluating schools and figuring out the best place for him.
He also saw his cousin, former Coventry standout and incoming Pittsburgh Panthers freshman defensive lineman Bryce Hargrove, go through the recruiting process and occasionally got input from Hargrove on what it was like to sift through college offers.
The idea of suiting up alongside Burkhart, against whom he has competed in three sports throughout middle school and high school, might seem a bit odd right now because the two will meet on the football and basketball fields, as well as at track meets, in their senior season of high school, but Jordan is looking forward to being on the same side as some of the talented rivals he’s battled for years.
“I’m actually looking forward to it, playing against these guys for the past eight years,” Jordan said. “We’ve a lot of fun and beef on the field, but it will be good to play together.”
During the recruiting process, Jordan visited the Akron campus several times and came away impressed with what he saw. The team’s indoor practice facility inside the Louis and Freida Style Fieldhouse is on par with many Big Ten schools’ practice spaces, and right next door is 30,000-seat Infocision Stadium, the newest football venue in the Mid-American Conference and a vast upgrade over the old Rubber Bowl that is just up the road from Springfield in Ellet.
“Everything down there is amazing, especially the indoor practice field,” Jordan said. “And being around the players, the way they were bonded together and on the same page was great.”
Although he plays on both the offensive and defensive lines at Springfield, Jordan expects to play solely on the defensive line at Akron. The coaching staff has told him that’s where he will be slotted, meaning that in between now and next fall, Jordan will have plenty of work to do when it comes to bulking up his 6-foot-3, 240-pound frame. That size makes him big on the high school level, but Division I defensive ends tend to be a bit larger, so Jordan knows that he will have to spend a lot of time in the weight room and at the training table in the months ahead.
“I’m definitely going to work on getting faster and stronger,” Jordan said.
Jordan is relieved to have the decision made and to be able to focus on his senior season as he and his Springfield teammates look to continue their progress of last season and break through the .500 barrier for the first time in several years. His blue and gold days are still more than a year away, but it feels good to know that they are on their way.
Reach Andy at 330-580-8936
On Twitter: @aharrisBURB